What Is The Brotherhood Without Banners On 'Game Of Thrones'? They've Been Around For A While

Helen Sloan/courtesy of HBO

Jon Snow is headed beyond the Wall to capture a White Walker with a legion of fan favorites, putting the Hound, Ser Jorah, and Gendry (welcome back, friend!) in some serious danger. And while viewers are familiar with the fact that Sandor Clegane has been hanging with Beric "eyepatch" Dondarrion and Thoros "man bun" of Myr, Gendry was kind enough to remind us that these two are part of the Brotherhood without Banners on Game Of Thrones.

The Brotherhood hasn't received too much screen time over the years and their numbers have decreased significantly since they first appeared in Season 3. But now that Beric and Thoros have joined up with Jon Snow, a refresher on who the Brotherhood are and how they were formed is a pretty important part of understanding what led them to team up with the King in the North.

A Quick Refresher On Gendry's Stake In All This

When Jon, Davos, Jorah, and Gendry got to Eastwatch during the episode of the same name, Gendry was not pleased to see Beric and Thoros. That's because, as he helpfully reminded viewers, those two men serve the Lord of the Light and sold him to Melisandre (his Baratheon blood, creepy religious ritual, Stannis on the Iron Throne, yadda yadda).

Before that though, Gendry had joined up with the Brotherhood when he was on the road with Arya in Season 3 after escaping the Lannister army at Harrenhal. While Arya was pretty upset with the Brotherhood since they wanted to use her for ransom, Gendry decided to stay with this group of outlawed men before they betrayed him by turning him over to the Red Priestess.

Understandably, he is still a bit bitter about the whole ordeal.

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What Happened With Arya & The Brotherhood?

While the only two members that Game Of Thrones is focusing on in Season 7 are Beric and Thoros, the Brotherhood without Banners back was once a group of outlawed men who served to protect the common people of Westeros. They are without a banner because they didn't serve any of the royal families, so they had a Robin Hood-vibe about them as they sought justice with their cave hideout in the woods.

When Gendry, Arya, and Hotpie first met Thoros, the Brotherhood had also captured the Hound. The Hound was eventually freed, but not before he killed Beric and saw him resurrected by Thoros.

How Did These Dudes Even Get Together?

But the story of how these brutes came together gets more complicated, still. Sandor Clegane had some family history with the Brotherhood that started before Season 3 and it's particularly hard to recollect since it not only took place back in Season 1 — offscreen. Oh also, most people involved are now dead.

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It goes like this: After Catelyn Stark captured Tyrion Lannister in Season 1, Tywin ordered the Hound's brother, Gregor Clegane (aka The Mountain), to wreak havoc on the Tully's territory, the Riverlands. As Hand of the King, Ned Stark sentenced The Mountain to death and ordered Ser Beric Dondarrion to lead 100 men to the Riverlands and carry out the sentence. The result was the Battle at the Mummer's Ford, which was never shown on the TV series. During the battle, most of the troops sent by Ned Stark were killed by the Lannister troops led by The Mountain. And Beric not only failed at killing The Mountain, but died at the hands of the larger Clegane brother — meaning Beric has the honor of saying he has been killed by both Clegane brothers.

OK, But Why Is Beric Not Dead?

Thoros, who had been raised as a Red Priest, served with Beric during the battle and when he prayed over Beric's dead body, he resurrected him for the first time. The two of them, along with the rest of the surviving men that served with them, formed the Brotherhood after Mummer's Ford and didn't return to King's Landing. While they initially protected the "smallfolk" (the name given to the common people) from the Lannisters, they ended up not having allegiance to any family in power, including the Starks.

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The Return Of The Brotherhood In Season 6

The Brotherhood appeared again in Season 6 when members of the group came to the Hound's peaceful community and demanded supplies. After Ian McShane's Ray refused, these Brotherhood members came back and killed the community, except for the Hound. Because these men had said a prayer to the Lord of the Light, the Hound knew they were part of Beric and Thoros' group and tracked them down. Thoros and Beric were already executing the rogue members who were responsible for the slaughter and that's how the Hound became allies with the two men who had previously been his foes.

So Why Are These Dudes Still Important?

Although the Brotherhood as it was in Season 3 doesn't really exist anymore, there are some reasons to have an eye on its remnants:

1. It was Ned Stark's decisions and the power of the Lord of the Light that led to this group being formed offscreen back in Season 1

2. Beric and Thoros seem to be the only two members of the group formerly known as the Brotherhood without Banners who really matter, and it was Jon's uncle Benjen who unintentionally bonded Beric and Thoros together in the first place.

3. Like Jon Snow, the Lord of the Light has allowed Beric to return from the dead (with the help of Thoros) and he feels — also like Jon Snow — that his fate has to do with fighting the White Walkers.

So Beric and Thoros may still be incredibly valuable allies to Jon's group now that they are going beyond the Wall after all.